I DO NOT OWN MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC. IT'S THE PROPERTY OF LAUREN FAUST, AND HASBRO. ALL RIGHTS ARE RESERVED TO THEM.
Spring was in full swing for the land of Equestria. Throughout the town of Ponyville, All of the citizens were enjoying the beautiful weather. Whether it was from working in the fields to relaxing at the park, they all basked in the warmth of Princess Celestia's sun. At Sweet Apple Acres, it was just another day of bucking apples from the many trees that covered the farm. Near the giant red barn, an apple tree shook and its apples fell from it into a yellow bucket. An orange mare with golden yellow hair, a brown Stetson hat, and emerald green eyes stood with a tired, but proud look smiled at the full bucket. The orange mare, Applejack, took the bucket and made her way out of the orchards. She made her way into the barn, where many more buckets of apples laid there scattered. She placed the bucket amongst one of the few empty spaced, and made her way out. She decided to take a quick break, and grabbed some apple juice to quench her thirst from the morning's work.
"Hey Applejack!" A voice shouted, causing the orange mare to look around.
Applejack looked to see a little purple dragon with green eyes and spines, waving to her with a big smile on his face. She recognized him as Spike, assistant to her unicorn friend, Twilight Sparkle.
"Well howdy there Spike." Applejack said with a smile. "What can Ah do fer ya sugarcube?"
"Oh, I'm picking up some apple pies for Twilight." Spike said. "She said that they would be ready at noon."
Applejack's smile quickly changed to a look of panic. "Oh no Ah forgot about them! A...Ah'm so ashamed of mahself."
"Uh...Applejack?" Spike tried to say.
Applejack didn't hear the baby dragon and went on. "Ah can't believe Ah let down one of mah friends. How could Ah've done such a thing as that?"
"Applejack." Spike tried to interject once more, but was cut off by the orange mare.
"Ah'm supposed to be the most dependable of all ponies and Ah can't even keep a promise to..."
"APPLEJACK!" Spike yelled causing the farmer pony to look at him with a bit of an embarrassed look.
"Oh...uh sorry about that there Spike." Applejack said rubbing the back of her head. "Guess Ah got carried away there, huh sugarcube?"
"It's okay Applejack." Spike said in a reassuring voice. "Um...are you okay though?"
"What do y'all mean Spike by if Ah'm alright?" Applejack asked.
"You look very tired and worn out." Spike said with a tinge of concern in his voice.
"Ah...Ah ain't tired su...*pant*...sugarcube." The orange mare argued back sounding exasperated.
"You never were a good liar you know that Applejack?" The baby dragon asked with a raised eyebrow.
The farmer pony cursed herself for inability to like. She looked at Spike with a sad look on her face. "Y'all got me Spike. Ah'm more tired than a hog runnin' around town."
"Applejack you aren't trying to do everything by yourself like last time are you?" Spike asked with a suspicious look on his face. "Don't you remember the last time you did that?"
Applejack gave a sad nod and said, "Ya got me again there Spike. Ah've been workin' mah flank off t'do an order fer Fillydelphia, but t'aint mah fault fer this mess."
"What do you mean it wasn't your fault? What about Big Macintosh and uh...what was that tan stallion's name...Fudge? Why aren't they helping you out?"
"Ah think y'all mean Caramel there Spike." Applejack said with a tinge of sadness in her voice. "He's down in the market today runnin' the stand."
"Well what about Big Macintosh then?" The baby dragon asked.
Applejack gave a frown and said, "He and Granny Smith left fer Manehattan to handle some sort of trade route dispute. Applebloom went off with the other Cutie Mark Crusaders last night to spend the night over at Fluttershy's."
"Applejack, why didn't you get the others here like Rarity or Rainbow Dash?"
"T'aint possible Spike. All of them from Rainbow to Pinkie are all as busy as me. Ah was gonna go git Twilight though, she said that she'd be able to help me."
"Um...well that's going to be a bit of a problem Applejack." Spike said in a low voice while twiddling his fingers.
"What d'ya by that sugarcube?" The orange mare asked with a bit of a worried look on her face.
"Well...Twilight had to go see Zecora for some books and herbs for a potion." Spike said rubbing his head. "I tried to tell her about you and the pies, but she ran off before I could say anything."
Applejack let out a brief sigh of relief. "Well what the hay am Ah supposed to do now?" The farmer pony asked sounding concerned. "Ah was supposed to have filled another hundred buckets full of apples. Now Ah've gotta make some apple pies fer Twilight."
"Um...Applejack?" Spike asked a bit timidly. "How about I help you out?"
The orange mare turned to Spike and gave a confused look at him. "Uh...no offense Spike, but yer just a baby dragon. Ah need some muscle fer this job."
Spike gave a determined look and a smirk to Applejack. "Oh yeah? Well watch this then. I've been working out, and I'll show you some real muscle."
The baby dragon went over to an apple tree and looked at it. He raised his right leg and gave the tree a kick with all of his strength only to see the tree shake a little and feel his foot throbbing with pain. Spike hoped in pain stifling a yelp and felt two hits to head; he looked to see it was two apples that fell from the tree.
Applejack did her best to not chuckle as she watched the baby dragon hope around in pain still. 'Poor lil' guy.' She thought to herself. 'He just wants to give me a hoof like he always does fer Twilight.' An idea suddenly sparked in the farmer pony's mind. "Hey Spike Ah think Ah know what y'all can do."
Spike stopped hoping and looked at Applejack with a forced grin. "What is it Applejack?" He asked with a tinge of pain in his voice.
"How would y'all to check to see what apples are good and what ones are rotten? Ah have plenty of buckets in the barn to keep ya busy."
Spike thought it over for a few minutes before giving the farmer pony a nod. "Okie doki, I'll do it. So where do I start?"
Applejack gave a chuckle and put her hoof on Spike's shoulder. "Easy now there sugarcube, Ah'm gonna grab a bite to eat and then we'll get to work."
"Oh, I'm not hungry at all. I'll get started on it right away." The baby dragon took off for the barn.
"Spike, come back here!" Applejack shouted, but to no avail the dragon was already in the barn.
She turned back to the homestead and went into the kitchen; she walked through the brown interior room with various cabinets, as well as the iron stove. She opened the pantry picking out a few red gala apples, some apple juice, and some of Pinkie Pie's cupcakes. After eating her lunch, she was ready to go see what Spike had done.
All of a sudden Spike came into the kitchen panting, but with a proud look on his face. "Apple...*pant*...Applejack, come see...*pant*...this."
Applejack and Spike ran out to the barn and went into it. The orange mare saw a sight that made her gasp and her eyes widen in shock. All the apple buckets were instead of being scattered were in rows of ten, and in a fairly big pile was a bunch of rotting apples. Applejack couldn't find the words to say what she saw and couldn't believe her eyes. She'd never see anypony do such a quick job like that before. The farmer pony then took Spike and hugged him tightly.
"Thank....thank ya kindly Spike." Applejack said in a joyful voice. "This makes me happier than a pig in a mud pit."
"You're...you're welcome." Spike said feeling breathless. "But...can you stop hugging me so tight? I...can't breathe."
Applejack broke the embrace and gave an embarrassed smile. "Um...sorry about that there Spike."
Spike gasped for air, but looked at Applejack with a small smile, "It's okay Applejack. I've been doing stuff like this for Twilight for years."
"Well that's mighty big of ya Spike." Applejack said with a big grin. "Now then let's mosey on down to the other apple trees sugarcube. Ah could use yer help for mah last chore of the day."
Spike gave a nod and followed the farmer pony into the apple orchards with a happy feeling in him. 'I've never been thanked like that before.' The baby dragon thought to himself. 'Not even Twilight shows me this much grati...gratit...uh love for my work.'
Applejack and Spike went a little deep into the orchards until the farmer pony stopped. Spike stopped to see amongst the endless sea of apple trees; some of them had four big yellow buckets underneath the trees. There were also two big brown carts next to the trees.
"Alright Spike listen up." Applejack said in a serious tone. "Ah'm gonna buck the trees and get 'em into these buckets. Then, Ah want y'all to take the buckets, pick out the apples that are rotten and place them in one cart, and the good ones in the other cart got it?"
Spike gave the orange mare a nod and went over to one of the trees. "Ready when you are Applejack!"
"Alrighty then sugarcube, let's get to work!" Applejack shouted with a grin.
For the next hour both Applejack and Spike worked around the apple orchards. Applejack bucked the apples, and made sure she got all of them into the buckets below. Spike took the buckets and dragged them toward the carts. He picked out which apples were rotten, and which ones were good before threw them into the correct cart. After a while, Applejack came back with a tired, but satisfied look. She saw that the buckets were all empty and the carts were full of apples.
"Y'all did a great job Spike." Applejack said with a grin. She heard no answer from Spike at all. "Uh...Spike sugarcube, where are ya?"
The orange mare looked near one of the carts to see Spike sleeping peacefully and couldn't help but smile at this. 'Ah can't blame the lil' fella fer bein' tired from such a hard day.' The farmer pony thought to herself. 'He looks rather adorable asleep. Ah can see why Twilight thinks he's her number one assistant.'
Applejack picked up the baby dragon and put him on her back. Spike snored a little while Applejack smiled as she looked at him. She took the baby dragon to her homestead, and placed him on a big red couch in the living room. She then turned to get the carts to pull them into the barn.
Spike groaned a little and woke up to see he was no longer at Sweet Apple Acres. He was in a wooden room with a bed next to him with a blue comforter on it and there were stacks of books; he was in the Ponyville Library. Panic overtook Spike as he realized he had fallen asleep on the job. He thought Applejack wasn't happy with him and quickly ran to the foyer of the library. The baby dragon saw the familiar lilac unicorn, Twilight Sparkle, read a book and take notes. She looked up to her assistant and gave a friendly smile.
"Oh good Spike, you're finally awake." Twilight said in a calm voice.
"Twilight, I need to get back to Applejack right now!" Spike shouted in panic. "I-I accidentally fell asleep while helping her and I-I need to apolo...apolo...uh, say I'm sorry to her."
Twilight just chuckle and went over to the baby dragon. "It's okay Spike there's no need for that." The lilac unicorn said. "Applejack told me what happened after I rushed over to the farm remembering what I promised her. I apologized to her, but she told me of what you did for her and that she made some extra pies for us. I took you home after that and let you rest in your bed for a while."
Spike gave a big breath of relief, but still felt a bit worried about falling asleep so suddenly. "Well...can I still go over to Sweet Apple Acres, and say I'm sorry for falling asleep?"
"Well Spike, I was actually going to tell you she wanted to thank you for your work by having a picnic dinner with her."
Spike felt himself froze and his eyes bulge out a little. "A...a picnic with her?" Spike asked sounding a little nervous. "I-I don't uh...I just.."
"It's just a friendly dinner Spike." Twilight said in a reassuring voice.
Spike took a few deep breaths in and calmed himself down. "I-I'm sorry Twilight," The baby dragon said. "I've never been on a picnic with some pony besides you or with the others."
"Relax Spike it's just a picnic with a friend. She says that she just wants to show her thanks."
"But...but aren't you coming?"
Twilight shook her head and said, "I'm sorry Spike, but I ate two of the apple pies. I also have to finish these notes for Princess Celestia."
Spike thought it over for a few minutes before giving a hesitant nod. "Alright Twilight...I'll go. Do I need to dress up or anything?"
"Easy now Casanova, I told you that this is just a friendly picnic dinner, and she said don't worry about dressing up."
Spike nodded. "Well, where am I meeting her for this picnic, at Sweet Apple Acres?"
"She'll meet you at the entrance of the farm, and show you where she would want to have dinner at." The lilac unicorn said. "I want you to behave Spike and relax; it's just a friendly dinner after all."
"So when do I meet her?"
Twilight looked up at a wooden clock and said, "Well she wants to see you at the farm at six, so you got an hour."
Spike gave a bit of a small smile and turned to get ready for his meeting with Applejack, with thoughts still buzzing in his head.
Spike spent the next thirty minutes getting ready to meet Applejack. He took a quick shower, straighten his spines, and put on a tiny red bow. At twenty until six, Spike left saying goodbye to Twilight and went off with the sky in an orangish color. As he walked towards Sweet Apple Acres, Spike had many things on his mind. He'd never been really alone with the other ponies besides Twilight, and was thinking about many things. The baby dragon didn't know what to talk to Applejack about since they both barely hung out and it left him very nervous. After what seemed like only a few seconds, Spike was outside the apple farm, and Applejack was looking at him with her usual friendly smile.
"Howdy Spike." The orange mare said in her usual upbeat southern accent. "Ah'm glad y'all could make it." She looked to see the baby dragon look down with a bit of a sad look on him. "Are y'all okay there Spike?"
"I...I really am sorry about earlier Applejack." Spike said with a tinge of sadness in his voice. "I didn't mean to fall asleep earlie,r and I understand if you're upset with me." Spike felt a hoof placed on his shoulder and looked up to see Applejack give a smile at him.
"Don't ya fret there Spike." Applejack said in a reassuring voice. "Yer just a baby dragon after all, and y'all do need yer rest after working so hard fer me. Besides, thanks to yer help Ah got the pies done in time. Ah even made a few extra ones fer you and Twilight."
Spike felt relieved that Applejack wasn't mad at him and gave her a smile. "So, where are we having this picnic at?"
Applejack waved a hoof at him and said, "Well follow me sugarcube and Ah'll show ya."
Spike followed Applejack to the side of the big red barn. He was met with a surprise that made his jaw drop and mouth water up. He saw a big wooden table filled with various apple products such as pies, tarts, and so many more products the farm sold that covered every part of the table. There were two wooden chairs sitting opposite from each other. Applejack nudged Spike to get him out of the trance he was in, and both moved to the table. Spike pulled out the chair for Applejack which made her smile.
"Well that's mighty courteous of you there Spike."
Spike smiled and said, "Thanks Applejack, You know me heh heh heh, uh...just trying to be a real gentledragon."
Applejack held back a chuckle and nodded. She knew the real reason why the baby dragon acted very courteous to her. Spike had been eying her unicorn friend, Rarity, for a long time and was always trying his best to impress her. Whether from daydreaming of rescuing her to doing stuff for her. She found it cute that the baby dragon was willing to go so far to show his love for her. She took her seat and Spike followed suit. Neither the baby dragon and farmer pony said or did anything for a few minutes. Spike had no idea what to say to Applejack and she didn't know what to say either.
Spike finally broke the silence. "So...shall we eat?"
Applejack shook her head and said, "Nah not yet sugarcube, Ah just wanna talk to ya first."
Spike gulped a little. "W-well what do you want to talk about?"
"I just want to say thanks again Spike." Applejack said with a smile on her face. "Y'all really did help me out a great deal today with yer help."
Spike blushed a little and said, "I was just helping Applejack that's all."
The orange mare shook her head and said, "Ah'm serious Spike, ya did a great job today. Ah got the order done, and got those pies baked fer you and Twilight. If it weren't fer ya Ah wouldn't gotten mah work done, and Ah'd be in a heap of trouble. Y'all did such a great job and Ah truly appreciate that."
Applejack waited for a response, but gone none. She looked at Spike and noticed that he had his head down and a tear fell from him. "Are ya alright sugarcube?" The orange mare asked in a concerned tone
Spike didn't look up at the farmer pony. "Y...you really mean that Applejack?" The baby dragon asked with a bit of a cracked voice. "You really...are thankful?"
Applejack gave a nod to Spike. "I sure am Spike. Why are y'all cryin' though?"
Spike kept his head down and said, "N-no pony has ever really shown me this much love for what I do to help."
Applejack was taken aback by this a little. "Why would you say that Spike?"
Spike looked up at Applejack with a pained look on his face. "It'...it's because it's you who seems to always be praised for hard work!" He shouted bitterly.
Neither Spike nor Applejack said anything at all with that outburst. The air around them felt tense as the minutes passed by. Spike looked down and was shaking in anger. Applejack just sat there with her eyes widened and jaw open.
Applejack finally broke the silence and said, "W...what do y'all mean by that Spike?"
Spike didn't look up at Applejack. "Y-you're always praised for what you do Applejack." The baby dragon said with bitterness still in his voice. "You do so many things for Ponyville. and get stuff like an award ceremony. What about me? I work very hard and don't get any real thanks!"
Applejack just shook her head and said, "Spike, that ain't true. Ah'm sure Twilight shows thanks fer yer help with her and..."
Spike cut her off and said, "No she doesn't Applejack. I'm lucky to even get a small thanks every once in a long while from her. I've cleaned messes, put books in the right order, and send messages for her, but no 'Thank you Spike'."
Applejack looked concerned with how Spike was acting and said, "But we do appreciate ya sugarcube. Remember that night of the shooting stars where y'all were praised fer your work?"
"Oh yeah...only for the next day you all just show praise for Owlowiscious. He didn't do as much work as me, and he got more respect in just one day. I've been doing hard work for ten years, and I get pushed aside like that." Spike said with a tinge of anger in his voice.
Applejack cursed herself in her mind for bringing up that incident. She remembered being told of how Spike was driven by jealousy by that owl and how he acted. "Spike, we didn't mean that and ya know that. Ah'm sure that..."
Spike cut off the farmer pony once more. "What do you know Applejack? I just do work, and get no real thanks for it. Sometimes I just feel likeI just work for nothing. You're lucky though that you always were loved for, and praised for your work."
Applejack just stared at Spike with a look of disbelief. The baby dragon just crossed his arms and looked down with a few tears still dropping from his face. Applejack had never seen Spike this sad or angry before. The air seemed to tense up even more and it felt like an explosion could occur at any moment.
Applejack broke the silence once more. "Spike I want y'all to look at me." She said with a bit of a serious tone. The baby dragon ignored her making Applejack frown. "Spike, look at me sugarcube."
Spike looked up slowly to see the farmer pony had a mix of a concerned and stern look on her face. "Well...what is it?" Spike asked with a mix of bitterness and sorrow in his voice.
"Spike Ah know it feels t'be lonely and thankless fer what Ah did." Applejack said in a sad voice. "When Ah was still a lil' filly in Manehattan, Ah loved to help others in need. Ah would give 'em their wallets they dropped or other things, but Ah was either ignored or accused of stealing their stuff instead. Ah even did so much fer mah Aunt Orange and Uncle Orange. Ah cleaned their house from top t'bottom, made them some homemade meals Ah learned on the farm, and even did mah best to fit in with those sophisticated ponies, but they just didn't seem to care. Ah was even picked on by others fer bein' what they call a 'goody-four hooves', and was heckled a lot."
"It seemed that Ah'd never be loved, or even shown some appreciatin' fer mah work. It wasn't 'til the day Ah saw that rainbow that showed me Ah belonged at Sweet Apple Acres. Ah saw that Granny Smith and Big Macintosh were happy t'see me. At that moment, Ah remembered that b'fore leaving fer Manehattan that Ah was always thanked fer mah work. Mah family loved me, and Ah realized that they needed me."
Spike's angry look eased into a bit of a sad look. "I...I'm sorry Applejack." The baby dragon said remorsefully. "I had no idea that happened to you."
Applejack just gave him a sad smile and said, "T'aint no harm done sugarcube. Ah just want ya to know that no matter what, they'll always be somepony that cares for what you do and love ya. Y'all just can't give up on what ya do. Ah can tell ya right now that Ah do care fer ya and appreciate ya."
Spike saw that Princess Celestia's setting sun gave Applejack a bit of an orange glow around her and was giving him a smile. He felt his anger melt with the friendly smile and felt something warm in him. "Thanks Applejack."
Applejack gave the baby dragon a nod and smiled. "Yer welcome sugarcube, now then let's eat."
As both Spike and Applejack ate, the baby dragon was lost in thought with how he acted earlier. 'W...what was that feeling in me when I saw Applejack?' The baby dragon thought to himself. 'I...I feel rather comfortable talking to her.' After an hour the sun had set, and Princess Luna's moon shone across the farm. Spike helped Applejack with cleaning up the dishes and tables.
"Um...Applejack?" Spike asked timidly. "Can you not tell what I said tonight to Twilight and the others?"
Applejack gave a reassuring smile and said, "Ah'm the Element of Honesty Spike. Fer yer sakes though, Ah'll keep what happened here a secret."
Spike gave the orange mare a hug and she returned it. Spike said goodnight, and both friends went their separate ways. Spike still had thoughts of what happened earlier buzz in his mind. He felt like that there was truth in what she said to him, and that the farmer pony really did show that she cared for him. Spike entered the Ponyville Library and saw that Twilight was slumped over a book with a candle near her. The baby dragon chuckled a bit just blew out the candle. He went to bed with his thoughts on Applejack.
The following morning at Sweet Apple Acres, Applejack was preparing for another long workday. Big Macintosh and Granny Smith were still out, Caramel left to set up the stand, and Applebloom went off to school. The orange mare made her way to a big wooden shed that looked a little run down. She opened it revealing a mess of various pitchforks, saddlebags, hammers, and boxes of nails all scattered in the shed. There were also some small wooden carts that were blocking the way into the shed as well. The farmer pony gave a sigh, and got to work pulling stuff out of the shed.
"Hey Applejack." A voice said.
The farmer pony jumped a little. She looked to see Spike with a sheepish look on him, and was rubbing his hands in nervously. "Uh...howdy there Spike. What are y'all doin' here?"
"Um...it's my day off Applejack." Spike said in a bit of a low voice. "I was just wondering if I could hang out with you today."
The orange mare gave a sad smile. "Ah'm sorry sugarcube, but Ah have t'git this shed cleaned up and fix." She turned around to pull a cart out from the cluttered shed.
"Applejack, wait!" Yelled Spike causing the earth pony to look at him with a confused look. "C-can I help you?"
Applejack gave Spike a bewildered look and said, "It's yer day off Spike, and y'all deserve a break fer yer hard work. Besides Ah think Ah can handle this here mess."
"Applejack please I-I want to just show my thanks for yesterday."
Applejack looked at Spike once more with a shocked look. "What do y'all mean sugarcube?" The farmer pony asked. "Are ya talkin' about what we said last night?"
Spike gave a nod and said, "I-I just want to repay you for what you did for me last night. You really helped me out."
Applejack looked at Spike and saw that he had a pleading look in his eyes. She looked at the shed, and saw that it was very messy. The orange mare gave a small nod and said, "Well...if that's what y'all want t'do then sure."
Spike gave the farmer pony a smile. "Thanks Applejack, you won't be sorry for this."
Applejack gave a smile at the baby dragon. "Alrighty then Spike let's go!"
For the next few hours, Spike and Applejack worked on fixing the shed. Spike took some of the old equipment that was broken and took them to a garbage can. Applejack took the remaining tools and placed them to the side. Spike then took some nails, a hammer, and a plank. He attempted to help Applejack replace some old wooden planks on the roof, but he injured his finger on the first try. Applejack tended to the baby dragon's injury, and let him bring in tools to put back in the shed.
When they finished, Applejack and Spike looked to see that the shed looked almost new. All the various tools and equipment were placed in stacks in corners of the shed. There were drawers that held hammers, nails, and other hardware equipment. The carts were taken out, and placed to the side of the shed to make room. Spike and Applejack gave each other a smile at their job.
Spike heard his stomach groan and gave Applejack an embarrassed smile. "Heh heh heh...uh Sorry Applejack." The baby dragon said. "I guess all this work has left me hungry."
Applejack just gave a smile and heard her stomach growl as well. "Well looks like Ah'mm not the only who's hungry. Let's git into the kitchen, and Ah'll make us some lunch."
The pair went into the homestead's kitchen and set the table for lunch. Applejack brought out some apple juice and several red gala apples from the pantry. She placed them on the table for the friends to eat. None of them said anything to each other as they ate, but Spike couldn't keep his eyes off Applejack. He couldn't help but shake that there was something about Applejack that made her beautiful. When they finished eating, Spike helped the farmer pony throw out the garbage. The baby dragon was about to head out the kitchen door when Applejack put her hoof in front of Spike.
"Spike d'ya mind if Ah ask ya something?" Applejack asked with a bit of a stern look on her face.
Spike felt a tad intimidated by the seriousness in Applejack's voice and said, "Uh...n-no Applejack. W-what's up?"
"It's alright sugarcube, y'all ain't in a heap of trouble." Applejack said in a softer tone. "Ah just want t'know why y'all would spend time with me. Ah thought y'all would spend the day with Rarity at her shop."
Spike rubbed his head and gave a small smile. "Well...I uh...just wanted to hang out with you." The baby dragon said with a tad of nervousness in his voice. "Besides, Rarity is at a Hoofington fashion show."
"Well Ah'm mighty glad y'all want to hang out with me Spike." Applejack retorted with a smile. "Ah hate to tell y'all though that Ah'm usually busy around the farm though and Ah..." A sudden knocking of the door caused Applejack to cut her conversation with Spike off. "Ah'm gonna see who that is sugarcube, y'all stay put."
Spike gave a nod and watched Applejack go off to open the door. The door opened to reveal a gray pegasus with a yellow mane and one eye looking up while the other was looking at Applejack; it was Derpy Hooves, the mailmare of Ponyville. Spike couldn't hear what the two ponies were saying, but saw Applejack be given a letter and Derpy take off. He watched Applejack open the letter. As she read it, Spike saw Applejack give a mixed expression of frustration and sadness. He gulped a little, and took his chances to go over to the farmer pony.
"Uh...Applejack, are you okay?" The baby dragon asked.
Applejack looked at Spike with an anguished look. "No Ah'm not Spike." Applejack said with sadness in her voice. "Ah just received this letter sayin' that mah brother and Granny are gonna be at Manehattan fer three days now. Ah can't just do these chores by mahself, and all mah friends are busy as well."
Spike frowned as the farmer pony hung her head down. He knew how it felt to always be left to clean up messes by himself; his life with Twilight proved that. An idea suddenly popped into the baby dragon's head.
"Hey Applejack, I have an idea."
Applejack looked up at the smiling baby dragon and said, "Well what d'ya have Spike?"
"Well...how about I come over and help you out until your family comes back?" Spike asked. "That way you won't be forced to do all the chores by yourself."
Applejack gave a shocked look at the baby dragon. "Spike, Ah can't ask y'all t'do this fer me. Besides y'all are usually busy helping Twilight at the library."
Spike shook his head and said, "Oh, you don't need to worry about that Applejack. Twilight is busy doing some notes for Princess Celestia. She really only needs me to send the notes to the Princess at the end of the day."
Applejack gave some serious thought to the proposal. "Spike, Ah ain't so sure about this." The farmer pony said in a wary voice. "Ah don't want to work y'all 'til yer plum tired and pass out."
"Applejack please I just want to help you." The baby dragon said in a reassuring voice. "It even gives me a chance to hang out with you."
Applejack looked at Spike and saw that he was giving a look of hope and excitement. She couldn't help but smile at the eager little dragon. "Alright Spike y'all can help. Ah do warn ya though, Ah do a lot of work 'round this farm and don't slack fer a minute."
Spike gave a nod. "You can count on me Applejack! I...I...*yawn*...handle it."
Applejack gave a bit of a stern look at the baby dragon. "Ah think y'all need some rest sugarcube." The orange mare said in an authorative, but caring voice. "Come on back tomorrow morning, and Ah'll set ya to work here 'til mah family comes back."
Spike gave a small nod and hugged Applejack. "Thanks again Applejack." He said joyfully.
Applejack found herself blushing a little and returned the hug. "Yer welcome sugarcube. Now go on home now and git some rest."
Spike gave a wave and Applejack returned it with a wave of her hoof. The farmer pony felt happy that she had a friend to help her out. However, she couldn't help but feel something unusual in her when Spike hugged her. She thought that she was just feeling a little tired, and decided to take a nap before going back to work.
For the next few days, Spike met Applejack in the early morning at Sweet Apple Acres. The two of them would work on making repairs to the fence, feeding animals, gather some apples, and clean the homestead. They would usually talk to each other over lunch about their lives. Spike would tell of him and Twilight's days in Canterlot. Applejack talked about her early life on the farm and in Manehattan. Spike would also tell some jokes that did make Applejack laugh, leaving a warm feeling in the baby dragon. He felt that he could really tell Applejack anything.
Spike felt something in him he hadn't felt since first meeting Rarity. Twilight was always badgering him into saying it was just puppy love over Rarity, but he felt that this was different. He felt comfortable with her and happy with Applejack. She was just as hard working as him and really appreciated him.
'H...have I been after the wrong pony?'" Spike thought to himself.
He remembered that whenever he'd help Rarity out, she'd seem to pay no real mind to him. Despite all his efforts for the white unicorn, she never really payed attention to his feelings. Instead, she went on about her next big design, or just ignore him from time to time.
Then, there was Applejack who showed that she really cared for him and helped him out. She laughed with him, and the two would talk to each other for hours. The realization hit the baby dragon like a house landing on top of him.
'I...I think I have. But, I don't think she's interested in me.' The baby dragon thought gloomy to himself.
Spike came by the farm again the next morning and went to go see Applejack. He knocked on the homestead door, and was greeted by the orange mare. Spike felt his heart skip a beat as she looked at him with those gentle emerald green eyes.
"Uh...howdy Spike." The orange mare said. "What are y'all doin' here?"
Spike gave the farmer pony a confused look. "Applejack, I'm here to help you out remember?"
The orange mare gave a sad smile to the baby dragon. "Ah'm sorry Spike. Mah family's back now, and Ah really don't have anything fer ya t'do sugarcube."
Spike felt his heart sink and crestfallen form what he heard. He gave Applejack a fake smile and said, "Oh...um alright, uh...sorry then. It was great helping you out though."
Applejack gave a small smile and nodded. "Uh...if it helps ya, Ah heard Rarity is back from Hoofington now."
Spike gave a small nod and said, "Oh...uh that's good to know. I'll go see her then, um...bye."
Spike and Applejack gave a small wave to each other and went their separate ways. Applejack felt a strange empty and sad feeling in her as she watched the baby dragon leave the farm with his head hanging down.
Spike walked slowly back to the library instead of going to Carousel Boutique. When he got back to the library he noticed Twilight wasn't there and the library was clean. The baby dragon didn't want to see Twilight or the others, and went upstairs. He lied on his bed and thought of Applejack and the past few days with her. Spike wanted to say something to Applejack so badly, but yet he couldn't. He knew that it probably wasn't going to happen, but he really wanted to tell Applejack how he felt about her.
'Tonight I tell her.' Spike thought to himself. 'I know this isn't going to end well, but I need to tell her.' Spike had a sudden thought in his head and got up from his bed. 'I know, I'll get her a gift to show my thanks.' The baby dragon took some bits, left the library, and headed towards the market.
As Princess Celestia's sun set on Sweet Apple Acres, Applejack finished taking the garbage out from tonight's dinner, and was about to turn back to the homestead. She heard hoofsteps walking up to her and turned to see to her surprise, a shy looking Spike holding a brown package.
"Well howdy there Spike." The orange mare said with a tinge of confusion in her voice. "What brings ya down here?"
Spike took a deep breath in and looked at Applejack. "Applejack...I just wanted to see you."
Applejack gave a confused look at the baby dragon. "Spike Ah'm glad to see y'all as well, but what's that yer carryin'?"
Spike felt himself shaking a little, but urged himself to keep going. "I...I got this for you." He said and handed the farmer pony the brown package.
"Fer...fer me Spike?" Applejack asked with awe in her voice. Spike gave her a nod, and she opened the package with her teeth. She looked and gasped at her present, it was an apple shaped clock with black numbers on it and two hands on it. She gave the baby dragon a tearful smile and hugged him. "Oh thank ya sugarcube, Ah've been needin' a new clock fer a while now."
As Applejack hugged Spike, he felt his heartbeat increase and blushed. "Y-you're welcome Applejack," he said. "I...I also want to...s-say something to you."
Applejack broke the embrace and gave a warm smile to Spike. "Well what is it sugarcube?"
Spike felt like he was going to faint as he looked upon the farmer pony. "Applejack...I uh...for the last few days I've talked to you, I-I felt something in me." The baby dragon said nervously. "I-I really like hanging out with you and talking to you. You...you aren't like any of the other ponies I've met. You listen to me and make me feel happy and comfortable. W-what I'm trying to say Applejack is that I...I...I really like you."
Spike looked up to see that Applejack had a shocked expression on her face and her eyes were bulging out of her sockets. The baby dragon knew it wasn't going to end well, and decided to run off before Applejack could do anything to him. The farmer pony broke out of her trance and looked to see the baby dragon run off.
"Spike, wait!" Applejack shouted and gave chase.
Spike ran as fast as his legs could make him and didn't dare to look back. He could hear the galloping of a pony and figured it had to be Applejack. As the baby dragon passed by the Ponyville Lake, he was tackled and landed on his back. He looked to see his fears confirmed, it was Applejack, but she seemed to have a concerned look instead of an angry look.
"P-please Applejack." Spike said with a mix of sorrow and fear in his voice. "I-I'm sorry and I understand if you hate me and don't want to see me again." He closed his eyes and expected the worst.
"Spike, I want y'all to look at me." Applejack said in a soft voice. "Ah want to talk to ya face to face."
Spike opened his eyes slowly and saw that Applejack had a soft smile on her face. "Applejack, I..."
The orange mare cut him off and said, "Spike did y'all really mean what ya said t'me?"
The baby dragon gave a nod. "Yes...yes Applejack, I do mean it. I really like being around you, talking with you, and working with you. I like you a lot Applejack, but I understand if you don't feel that same way with me."
Applejack took her hoof and placed it on Spike's face to turn it to face her. "Spike...Ah've got t'be honest with ya sugarcube." She said with a tinge of nervousness in her voice. "Y'all work hard, ya do mess up from time to time, but ya have a good heart and y'all do so much fer everypony."
Spike felt his heart swell up like a balloon. "Applejack, are...are you saying that...?"
Applejack gave a nod to the baby dragon. "Yes Spike...Ah like ya as well sugarcube." She said. "Ah really liked being with ya. Yer cute, y'all work very hard, and yer always tryin' yer best fer all of us."
Spike felt like his heart was going to explode in him as he looked upon the orange mare. "Applejack, I...I don't know what to say." The baby dragon said nervously. "I...I thought you wouldn't be into me since I'm just a baby dragon."
Applejack gave a reassuring smile and said, "Spike, d'ya remember what Ah told y'all at the picnic?"
Spike gave some thought to it before he realized what she meant. "You...you said that there would be somepony who cares for what I did and love me."
Applejack gave a nod and slowly started to stroke the baby dragon's scales. "Ah do care fer ya sugarcube. Ah really do care fer ya, and Ah want to show ya."
Spike had no time to react to Applejack as he suddenly felt her lips push against his lips. Spike's eyes widen and his heartbeat increased. His eyes slowly closed, and he returned the kiss. He tasted the sweetest apples with a hint of warm apple cider as he kissed Applejack. The farmer pony wanted to make this his best kiss. She slipped her tongue into the baby dragon's mouth to mingle with his tongue. The kiss seemed to last an eternity as both the pony and dragon held each other. Applejack broke this kiss after a few minutes. Both the pony and dragon gasped for air and looked at each other blushing.
"How did ya like them apples Spike?" Applejack asked
Spike blushed and said, "T...those are my kind of apples." He hugged her and the orange mare returned it.
Applejack broke the embrace and gave Spike a smile. "Hey, Ah ain't workin' on the farm tomorrow. How'd ya like to spend some real time together?"
Spike gave a nod and said, "Sure Applejack, I'd love that." The orange mare smiled, and gave him another kiss that was short, but to Spike it felt sweet.
The two friends waved goodbye to each other, and headed back to their homes. As they walked back, they each had smiles on their faces. They each looked to the setting sun and saw a bright future ahead for themselves.